Culver City is a happening place. Not only is it the location of Los Angeles Ale Works’ brewing high jinks, but it’s also the home of Pipe Dream Brewery. Founders Kingsley Toby and Brian Holter have been hard at work perfecting their pilot system and brewery plan for the last 3 years. They have assembled what can only be described as the most ultimate brewing den/man cave ever. In any other place in the US, they could probably get their garage licensed as a full fledged nano-brewery. Unfortunately, this is Los Angeles, and we brewers have it extremely hard. That doesn’t stop this team from creating delicious brews though. They had around 5 beers available to us on tap, and each one was masterfully crafted. With even more beer well on its way in their temperature-controlled fermentation fridges, these guys are clearly serious about brewing.
Brian and Kinglsey met working at a post house in Culver City. In 2005, Kingsley, Brian’s then boss, decided he wanted to get into the craft when Brian brought in beer to the office for a party. The two have been brewing and delighting their friends with their experimental brews ever since.
Brian took me around their setup and explained the logistics of how their custom system works. He originally sourced the pots from More Beer, but had them weld everything custom so they could brew using the Herms Coil method. A Herms Coil is a piece of heat sensitive tubing that sits in a bath of temperature controlled water. The brewer pushes wort through the heat exchanging coil to achieve varying temperature controlled rests during the mash. This prevents scorching, but can be “time intensive,” says Brian. Everything is controlled with a massive metal box with an electronic display that reminded me of Doc Brown’s Flux Capacitor. Alarms, buzzers, keg control, lights, and button-controlled temp settings — these guys aren’t messing around. Are you jealous yet? I am.
Pipe Dream’s flagship beer is called Lazy Sunday and doesn’t really fit into any style category, but they have won medals for it in various categories including California Common. The idea behind it is to be sessionable, approachable, and easily paired with food. Amarillo hops and honey give it a very well-rounded citrus sweet flavor, which led me to demand a second glass. The other two favorites of the night were Tahoba, the basil, honey, tangerine ale, and Hoppy Accident Stout on nitro. Tahoba is one of those beers you want everyone to try. The flavors are expertly balanced and basil shines through nicely. The stout started out as a super-imperial, hoppy black ale, but to me it tasted like an amazingly hoppy Russian Imperial Stout. They also have a Pale and an Imperial IPA called Green Dragon, which is definitely Hop Head approved.
All in all, Brian and Kinglsey are doing an excellent job of capturing their skill and love of craft beer in each glass. Keep an eye out for these guys and keep your ears open for announcements about their summer party. I hear it’s an event you definitely don’t want to miss. Special thanks to Brian, Kingsley, and his wife, Erin, for having us over last night and showing us around.